Monday, December 17, 2007

Jeff Francoeur in 2008

In two full seasons, Jeff Francoeur has averaged nearly 500 outs per season. 507 outs in 2006, which put him in the top 100 of all-time, then 477 outs in 2007. Coupled with his lack of walks, Francoeur rarely sees a pitch he doesn’t like. Though he did see a few more pitches in 2007 then he did in 2006, nearly doubling his walk total. Still his 2007 walk total of 43 isn’t a number to be proud of. Delving deeper into Francoeur’s numbers you find more of the same -- a free-swinging hacker.

Checking out his baseball-reference page, you find one bright side in all of this. At his age, he compares to Harold Baines. Okay, he’s not being compared to Willie Mays, but Baines had an extremely productive career and took very few walks along the way. Another bright side, he’s only going to be 24 in 2008 and he’s played every Braves game of the last two years. He’s durable and he has some time to hone his strike-zone discipline.

The biggest red flag for me is 19 homers in 2007 after hitting 29 in 2006. It seems his attempt at plate discipline is coming at a price. Granted, his doubles shot up to 40 in 2007, but he does have good speed so these could have been well-placed gapers.

Another concern, he’s a sexy name to breakout. Maybe it’s his boyish good looks, but for some reason his average draft place and his output don’t correspond. Some players annually draft higher than they should (Hey, Jeter!) and Francoeur seems to fall into this category. A dangerous category for someone with his downside. (Jeter, fortunately, doesn’t offer the same downside.)

In 2008, maybe Francoeur will double his walks again…

Maybe his doubles will turn back into homers…

Maybe his BABIP will stay above his average…

Better yet, maybe you should just draft someone that’s a bit more dependable and let someone else worry about these headaches.


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